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This post presents some of the tools and skills used in grant writing. Others in the series will present what Grant Writers do, where and when they work, and common career paths.


Grant Writers need a specific set of tools and skills to be effective at winning competitively awarded grants. With the exception of some specialized databases, grant makers’ websites, and grants management software, none of them is unique to the pursuit of grant writing



In the late 2010s, all Grant Writers use hardware and software in many facets of their work. Among commonly used types of hardware are:

  • Laptop computers
  • Tablets
  • Handheld calculators
  • Cell phones

Among commonly used types of software are:

  • Internet browsers
  • Applications to support prospect research, grants management, email, databases, word-processing, calendars, teleconferencing, and presentations
  • Online calculators
  • Grant application portals


Grant Writers need to be comfortable with constant change in and among the technologies that they use daily. Among formerly often used technologies that are now increasingly out of use are:

  • Printers
  • Photocopiers
  • Facsimile machines
  • Desktop computers


Grant Writers need to know how to use the full range of contemporary telecommunications software and devices. They must be comfortable with devices used for creating and making presentations, such as digital cameras and projectors, and related software. And they should know all of their options among both traditional modes (e.g., UPS, USPS, FedEx) and new platforms ( and foundations’ online application forms) for submitting timely proposals.



Among the most basic skills that Grant Writers should have are to:

  • Listen attentively
  • Ask key questions
  • Engage in teamwork
  • Negotiate
  • Think strategically
  • Write and edit
  • Research
  • Organize
  • Coordinate
  • Budget
  • Calculate
  • Plan
  • Reason persuasively
  • Build rapport
  • Build relationships
  • Facilitate and lead meetings
  • Manage time effectively
  • Concentrate efforts
  • Forecast
  • Analyze
  • Interpret
  • Follow instructions
  • Attend to details

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